As I’m typing this my daughter is practicing sixteenth-note scales on her violin.
1-e-&-a, 2-e-&-a,3-e-&-a, 4-e-&-a, and on and on it goes.
Though her violin is in tune, and though she’s playing just as she should, it doesn’t yet sound proficient. Her sixteenth notes are uneven, and her finger placement lacks the precision required to be exactly in key. Her ear is not yet trained to recognize when she is out of tune.
A concert violinist, playing the exact same sixteenth-note scale, would sound utterly different in delivery.
It’s the same instrument, the same notes, and she’s playing exactly as she should do, and yet she’s not yet to mastery. It’s musical, and yet not masterful. Not yet.
I think a lot of moms operate at this level of motherhood.
The notes are right. The scales are being practiced. The shoes are tied. The spankings are given. There’s nothing being done *wrong* and yet they’re not yet to the point of artistry. There’s no confidence, and no mastery. Not yet.
Hear me out, though, please– because this isn’t personal about you. I’m not sitting there in your house, staring at your children, critiquing YOUR motherhood– I’m just making an observation about the current culture of motherhood. I think this is something that is simply a truth about motherhood– it affects us all.
- I crochet, when I have a mind for it. I’ve made ten baby blankets, some scarves, and a few other items. But I’m no artist. What I do is done lovingly, thoughtfully, and yet I’m not a proficient crocheter. I’ve not crocheted long enough to achieve true artistry.
- I cook food everyday. I even cook tasty food from time to time, if you believe my ravenous boys’ opinions. And yet I’m no Pioneer Woman. No one’s looking to me to put out a cookbook.
As a mother, sometimes, it is enough to put one foot in front of the other.
In fact, that’s how we all start. We all start out just learning the ropes… learning HOW to breastfeed, then HOW to deal with teething, then HOW to train their attitudes, and on and on… but there is heart beyond the how-to.
There is proficiency to achieve beyond our early practice.
Can I just encourage you with one thought?
MAMA OF YOUNG ONES, PERSEVERE!
What I want to encourage you with is this: Stick it out. KEEP GOING!
- Past the sticky juice messes.
- Past the yells that come because of the sticky juice messes.
- Past the teary confessions that come because of the yells because of the sticky juice messes.
- Past the heaps of laundry.
- Past the decluttering of closets and laundry schedules and discarded-because-they-didn’t-work laundry schedules.
- Past enforced bedtimes.
- Past the overwhelmed tears when you don’t know how to handle the newest bump in the road of motherhood.
- Past homework correction and attitude correction.
The drudgery is hard for every single one of us. All of us hit moments where we have no idea what to do. All of us hit difficulties we never anticipated.
None of us roller-skates through the early “sixteenth-note scales” of motherhood. We all have to play them, but none of us hits them perfect on our first, or second, or tenth, go.
But keep going!
- Don’t check out because it’s hard.
- It’s hard to keep going when it’s hard.
- It seems easier to do what everyone else does: muddle through, and complain about your kids.
- It seems easier to badmouth how easy she (the mom you feel intimidated by) has it because she doesn’t have a, b, or c challenges, or deal with x, y, or z, like you.
- It seems easier to check out, and check Facebook.
But there’s no music there. There’s no artistry there.
Complaints and comparisons don’t ultimately produce a violinist that knows how to make her own unique instrument SING.
In the same way, complaints and comparisons don’t ultimately produce a mother who knows how to make her own family, home, and life work in a way that brings maximum glory to God and joy to all who are in it or stand to witness it.
Mom of young children, can I encourage you? Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Don’t believe the lie that nothing you are doing is making a difference.
If you keep going and don’t give up, you will reap a harvest from your efforts.
It’s tempting to check out before you hit mastery, but after the drudgery comes mastery. And — just like the concert violinist testifies to us — mastery is where the artistry happens.